From baseball players to business people, teamwork is what keeps us going. That means it shouldn’t end with medical care or dental work. As dentists, we need to create our own team, especially when it comes to diagnosing and treating patients with sleep apnea.
You may not be standing in a line of people waiting to be picked by one of two captains, but it is vital that you establish a working relationship with your local sleep physician and their care team. Collaboration with a sleep physician allows your office to send patients for a diagnosis while also receiving referrals for oral appliance therapy for the treatment of sleep apnea.
Here is how a relationship with your local sleep physician can help you better care for your patients with sleep apnea.
It allows your patients to get a diagnosis
We want to make one thing clear: Dentists DO NOT diagnose sleep apnea. It is important to remember you need a diagnosis from a sleep physician before beginning treatment. By building a rapport with a sleep physician you can send your patients their way for a proper diagnosis.
And it is easy to do so. Begin now by introducing yourself, and providing information about what you know and services you offer your patients–the more they know the better.
You can receive sleep apnea treatment referrals
When patients are CPAP non-compliant, what other options do they have for treatment? Many are unaware of the availability of oral appliance therapy, which often is the same for many sleep physicians. By not only educating your patients, but sleep physicians, too, you can begin receiving referrals to your office. As you know, mild to moderate sleep apnea can often be treated with oral appliance therapy.
Physicians who understand oral appliance therapy can frequently refer patients to your office for proper care when CPAP therapy is not working or the patient doesn’t want to utilize a CPAP machine. It can also be beneficial for combination therapy with both the oral appliance and CPAP machine.
To learn more about building a relationship with a sleep physician, sign up for an upcoming lecture, or schedule a consultation and shadowing options. Together we can improve your service offerings.